Capturing New Market Niches
God will not do your business for you! He will stir up your enthusiasm, illuminate one-step-ahead ideas, and traffic helpful people and resources into your life. However, He has promised to bless the work of your hands (Deu 28:8, 1Co 15:58). He reserves victory for horses that have prepared (Pr 21:31). Your supernatural business idea can dissipate into nothing if you do not work diligently, while praying, fasting, and surrendering your enterprise to God in the context of your daily intimacy with Him.
Many territories in Business Canaan are waiting to be captured. These territories are new market niches.
A market niche is a smaller segment of a larger market. It is a pinpointed and well-defined subgroup to which specialized goods or services are offered (called niche goods or niche services). A few examples might be, senior men who love golf, or cat lovers, or hair stylists. Notice each example is a smaller, specialized subgroup within a larger market.
Think of the broadcasting company ESPN and their niche networks. ESPN...main, games, analysis, news and current events. ESPN-U...collegiate sports. ESPN Classic...popular athletic contests from the past. ESPN SEC Network...SEC athletics only. On and on goes the niche list.
The Nature & Emergence of Niches
A particular market niche might be the one and only fishpond of an entire business. Or, it might be merely an affiliate, auxiliary, branch, or department of a larger business or composite organization. Hence, niches can play central or subsidiary roles in the life of a company.
Niche marketing can occur spontaneously. This happens when a subset of the consumer base emerges with an increasing demand for a specific good, or, a specialized modification of a good. Niche marketing can also happen proactively, through entrepreneurial insight, whereby an underserviced and promising niche has been identified.
The Rewards of Capturing Niches
Capturing niches, especially brand new ones, can enlarge and prosper your business significantly. In Biblical language we could call this "spreading". Isaiah 54:2,3 (underline added): Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes. For you will spread out to the right and to the left; your descendants will dispossess nations and settle in their desolate cities.
Typically, niche customers are more loyal than your general consumer base. They tend to be grateful that a provider has come forward to fill a very specific need or value. In some cases, a close, almost brotherly, bond or community develops. Customer loyalty means stable longterm profits.
New Income Streams
A new, specialized good means new customers, which means new income streams, which means more bottom-line profits. Simple business ABCs from Ecclesiastes 5:11 (NASB): When good things increase, those who consume them increase...
Marketing a niche good is more cost-effective than marketing a more general good. Broad marketing can cost a fortune because volume and mass exposure are key to attracting buyers from the general public. Niche marketing, though, is snipered. It targets only those customers already predisposed to your niche good. Snipered marketing means money saved. Money saved equals more bottom-line profits.
Because of the smaller pool and cost-effectiveness, niche marketing is more easily adaptable to trends, human fickleness, changing needs, and spontaneous opportunities or threats. Modifying a broader good or service can be like turning the Titanic, while modifying a niche good can be more like driving a speedboat (at best) or a pontoon (at worst). Niche products, by their very definition, keep up well. Consumer retention or enlargement equals stable or increasing bottom-line profits.
Competitive Reduction or Nonexistence
The more specific the niche market, the more unique or rare the niche good, the less competition there will be. Your business will provide customers with a good they cannot find elsewhere, or, is frustratingly hard to find. Profits often skyrocket overnight in these types of situations. Think of DippinDots. Think of CrossFit.
An important note. In some instances, no competition may be a negative indicator--the niche group does not want to be penetrated. Prayer and a little homework should reveal what you need to know.
Brand Preemption & Momentum
Once imitators and competitors catch on, you will already be one or ten steps ahead. You will have already captured a strong consumer base with an established brand that you can develop and innovate from there. You will already be the go-to brand, already possessing social capital and drawing power.
Capturing multiple niche markets can protect your interests gloriously. Competition is forced to keep up (which often they cannot do) or forced to downsize, rightsize, or die out (which often happens). Think of a college football team that has an established reputation and too many good players over many seasons.
Multiple niches also protect you from the economy. For example, if the economy dips and bruises the $100,000-$400,000 income bracket among middle-aged Asians, no worries, you have niche products in other niche brackets and demographics doing just fine.
Solomon articulated this in Ecclesiastes 11:2 (NIV): Invest in seven ventures, yes, in eight; you do not know what disaster may come upon the land.
Begin Small & Spread
The list of benefits could go on. Realize, then, how important niches are. If you attain crossover appeal across various niches, grabbing robust portions of the larger market, wonderful, but that will not help you starting out. Narrow down your target group to a carefully pinpointed niche(s). Let the Lord and your preliminary successes spread you from there.
Choose a general market. Choose a market niche. Develop a multidimensional marketing strategy.
(1) Choose a general market.
If your good/service has not yet been fitted into a general market, then start by choosing one that fits well. Here is a list of a few to get you thinking. Keep in mind, your product might fit well into more than one market. Pray and study for the most promising one starting out. Let the Lord and your preliminary successes spread you from there.
Geographical Markets. A market that includes and targets anyone and everyone within a determined radius (50 miles, 200 miles, etc.).
Age Group Markets. Markets driven by age-specific nuances, wants, or needs.
Seasonal Markets. Markets driven by short periods, like weather, holidays, sporting events, etc.
Necessity Markets. Markets driven by basic human necessities like health services, food/drink, medicine, housing, etc.
Social Maintenance/Development Markets. Markets driven by societal needs like education, public safety, human resources, insurance, etc.
Passion Markets. Markets driven by emotional interests and hobbies.
Luxury Markets. Markets driven by affluence and opulence.
Conscience Markets. Markets driven by morality, ethics, religion, self-help, etc.
Crime-Related Markets. Markets driven by crime, i.e. law enforcement, weapons development, correctional institutions, re-entry programs, rehab
(2) Choose a market niche.
A market niche can be an already established subgroup of your larger market, or, it can be one you invent and carve out yourself. Here are some questions to ask:
Is there a niche your competition has not penetrated?
Can you specialize in an area where many businesses or groups generalize?
Is there an existing good/service you can innovate with more detail, appealing to an even narrower set of consumers?
One way to answer these and related questions is to do an external analysis, a survey of the business landscape relevant to your product. Read competitors' websites, ads, pamphlets, etc., anything to give you competitive intel. You want to provide what the competition is not or cannot, and you want to specialize where the competition is still general. You want your product to be the next evolutionary step.
There is a competitive advantage God will grant you over the herdsmen of Gerar. There is a well they cannot compete with (Gen 26:19-22). Pray and think with the Spirit to illuminate that well.
(3) Develop a multidimensional marketing strategy.
Find a link. Pray and search for a strategic person--a link--to the niche you are seeking to penetrate. One lady I know gave me free samples of an athletic hydrating powder she was selling. She wanted me as her bridge into the competitive soccer niche.
Find allies. Pray and search for allies, or other important people, groups, and businesses that can lend you visibility and credibility to your target niche.
Develop literature. You need informative and memorable literature about your niche product. These can be pamphlets, brochures, the home page of a website, and so on. A few tips:
Clearly articulate the benefits and uniqueness of your product. Do not be wordy; people are impatient and busy. Get to the point and make it memorable. (You can always have an internet link to a fuller explanation.) Speak their language. A niche has its own culture, so use understanding vocabulary and imagery.
Niche-only website. Do not merely attach your niche products to the website of a larger company or organization. Prioritize the niche by developing its own professional, customized site. That way customers and inquirers can go straight to the horse's mouth without having to wander all over the pasture.
Strategic media. If your budget allows, advertise on radio and TV stations and during times your niche customers are likely to be listening. Remember to use understanding vocabulary and imagery.
There is an infinite number of penetrative marketing you can use, these are just starters. Be prayerfully creative at reaching them. Business is very much a chess match with the elements that be.
The riches are in the niches.